Friday 26 June 2015

Hunting Wi-Fi and an Alvor Mini-Break

Portugal, 12th – 14th January 2015

Pursuit of Communication

We eventually left Bordeira as we needed to get our return ferry booked as well as pay off our travel credit card, so we wanted to visit a point with WiFi.  We went to the Aire in Lagos and parked up for an hour or so to use their WiFi point, however we found the signal strength to be very weak and the connection wasn’t secure, making it difficult to use for larger tasks.  The site was by a stadium and overlooked by a lot of main roads, and although the road noise wasn’t too much of a
problem, we did get approached by a gypsy beggar with a small child and a horse who spent several minutes begging at our door before he finally left.  The site was okay if you wanted somewhere to park whilst you went to visit Lagos, but wasn’t somewhere you could park and relax.  Whilst here we chatted a while with a British couple in a silver Geist who had been using the Aire for a few days whilst visiting Lagos.

Parking at Portimão
I felt a little uncomfortable at the site, so rather than spend the night we decided we would try the Aire in Parque du Galé near Albufeira as their site was nice and had secure WiFi.  However, when we arrived their Aire was already full, so we instead parked up outside Albufeira’s Aire and used their secure WiFi for half an hour before moving on.

As we were getting towards the end of our first leg of the trip and we wanted to spend some time in Alvor before we left, we started making our way towards the nearby city of Portimão and found somewhere here we could spend the night before visiting the Alvor Aire in the morning.  In Portimão we went to a spot from the Dutch ACSI book where there are two tarmac areas within a grassed area by some hotels. A number of campers were parked up, so we joined them for the night.

Mini-Holiday in Alvor

In the morning we travelled to Alvor, where Matt immediately got chatting with a group of men from some of the other British campers.  After going for a walk and returning, we also dropped by the American RV that we saw the first time around and chatted for a while with the couple there (but didn’t catch their names, unfortunately).

We also saw the lady from the couple that had spoken to us at the Lagos Aire.  It turns out they left Lagos not long after we did, and for similar reasons.  The gypsy beggar who disturbed us was not alone, and during the course of the day they were bothered at least two more times.  Apparently they saw the gypsies on the move later in the day as well, with at least a dozen horses.

As we hadn’t eaten out whilst we were away, we decided to go out for dinner, so we went to a
restaurant called O Navigador that the couple from the RV had recommended. When we arrived we were the first ones there and the waiter was very hospitable.  I tried the sea bass as I wanted to have fish seeing as we were in Portugal and the waiter recommended it, and Matt ordered steak on the stone as it was the first time he had seen it on a menu since his visits to the Nürburgring, both of which were nice.  As an added bonus, this marked the occasion of the first proper chips in three weeks.

No thank you!
Our original plan was to set off the next day on our way back to France, but we did some route planning and figured that we could probably fit in another day’s worth at Alvor before we had to start heading back to the ferry as long as we stuck to schedule on our journey back.  We decided to take advantage of this, and stuck around on the Aire for one final day.  We chilled in the sun and did some reading, and Matt finished his book which was the first one he’s had time to read in years.  One day, perhaps he will even go so far as to branch out from non-fiction into fiction.  We went for a walk along the beach, and while we were on the beach we saw one of the biggest jellyfish that we’ve ever seen (pictured).  All of a sudden I felt a little less confident about going for a leisurely swim!

It was a very pleasant day, so we decided we would spend the afternoon at Alvor port.  We went to one of the bars that was overlooking the harbour for cocktails (I had a Pina Colada and Matt had a Zombie), and stayed here until the sun was going down.

Cocktails at Alvor
There were another couple of restaurants that a few of the vans had mentioned that we wanted to give a try as they had a very cheap set menu, so we decided that we would eat out again.  Matt seemed to think he knew where he was going and believed he had an excellent sense of direction, so he took us on a long expedition through the whole of Alvor because he enjoys making me suffer when I’m hungry!  We finally made it to the two bar-come-restaurants we had heard about, which were similar in price.  We went for the one called Panda Bar as we couldn’t see much on the other set menu we felt like eating, although we had heard the other one to the right of it is supposed to be slightly nicer.  At Panda Bar we had their €7.50 menu, which included bread and olives to start, a drink (we had wine), a choice of three mains and a dessert.  We both tried deep fried hake, which came served with potatoes and a (we think deep fried) banana, which was very unusual but surprisingly nice, and then we had a choice of about four desserts (I had a chocolate mousse and Matt had a Portuguese dish that seemed to be made of cookies/cream/chocolate bits, which was very nice).  We decided to take the much shorter route home through the pedestrianised area!

We went back to our van with the sad knowledge that it was our last night in Portugal; from this point onwards it was all about travelling back up to Calais before our ferry.


Alvor Beach
Alvor Parking
Befriending the local wildlife

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